Friday, August 10, 2007

Double Jeopardy

As explained at

''The constitutional prohibition against 'double jeopardy' was designed to
protect an individual from being subjected to the hazards of trial and possible
conviction more than once for an alleged offense. . . . The underlying idea, one
that is deeply ingrained in at least the Anglo-American system of jurisprudence,
is that the State with all its resources and power should not be allowed to make
repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged offense, thereby
subjecting him to embarrassment, expense and ordeal and compelling him to live
in a continuing state of anxiety and insecurity, as well as enhancing the
possibility that even though innocent he may be found guilty.''
In essence, the courts can only try someone once for a specific crime. This doesn't prohibit, however, the same charges being filed in regards to the same crime on both federal and state levels - which is what seems to be the direction that Virginia is going in with the Michael Vick dogfighting case.

That is not what I am referring to with Vick.

While it appears to be likely that Vick will face an indictment from the State of Virginia in addition to his federal indictment, I am talking about something different.

I am talking about the other indictment that could be handed down in Atlanta.

From 2004 through 2006 the Falcons won 11, 8, and 7 games respectively. In each of those three seasons, in spite of passing for more yards each year, his completion percentage dropped from 56.4 in 2004 to 55.3, and, ultimately 52.6 last season. Overall, he is a career 53.8 percent passer who has piloted the Falcons to two winning seasons. The only time that the Falcons have won more than nine games with Vick at the helm coincides with his highest completion percentage - 56.4.

Joey Harrington, for all the knocks he takes in the press, is the better quarterback. Over the last three seasons playing for Detroit and Miami - two teams no one could really consider contenders, Harrington has posted completion percentages of 56, 57, and 57.5 respectively.

If after six seasons of Vick, during which the Falcons could achieve ten wins only once, what will it say of Vick - the so called "most exciting player in the game," if Atlanta wins ten with Detroit's first-round quarterbacking bust at the helm?

Isn't that just another indictment of Vick?

His defenders point to the number of dropped passes his receivers had last season. They don't point to the fact that, until this past off season when the dogfighting was about to hit the fan, Vick didn't spend anymore time around Flowery Branch than the bare minimum required. He didn't spend the extra time developing that rapport with receivers that quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or Donovan McNabb do.

Whose fault is that? The receivers?

For all the hype, and the excitement he has caused on the field (and off), nothing ever justified Arthur Blank's signing of this man to the richest contract ever for a quarterback. As much as you may here players and coaches give proper respect to Vick's athletic ability - you never hear them talk about him as a great quarterback.

Why? Because defensive coordinators would rather face someone like Vick than someone like Brady or Manning. They know if they bottle up Vick, then they force him to pass. That's not a prospect that defensive coordinators in the NFL fear - not the way they fear what Brady, Manning, McNabb, Carson Palmer, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, or any one of a number of other quarterbacks can do if stuck in the pocket.

Don't be surprised if Vick faces another indictment by the end of the season - only this one will be on the football field.

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